Obituary: Elizabeth ‘’Tina’’ Lee Caldwell-Bissell, 73, of Ludington

March 15, 2021

Elizabeth ‘’Tina’’ Lee Caldwell-Bissell

Obituary: Elizabeth ‘’Tina’’ Lee Caldwell-Bissell, 73, of Ludington

September 6, 1947 – March 11, 2021

Elizabeth “Tina” (Bi das ga Geesis Quay) Shines Through Sun Woman, started her journey through the western door on March 11, 2021.

She was at home with her husband Dan and her two fur babies when the Creator decided that her time in human form was done. She was a very spiritual person and always believed that we are all spiritual beings, and we take on our human form only temporarily. 

Elizabeth was born in Phoenix, Arizona to Lela Thurlow-Orr and Sim Caldwell on September 6, 1947.

She was raised in Port Huron under less-than-ideal circumstances. She left the situation she was in as a teenager, single parent of Bettina and travelled on her own out west and did a variety of jobs including managing a hotel and operating a craft shop in California. Tina also sang and played the guitar and autoharp to make money. She had the voice of an angel. 

Through much adversity as a child and later as a single parent of twins, Jaron and Mara, Tina returned to west Michigan, worked as an auto brake mechanic, and attended Grand Valley State, and became a licensed substance abuse counselor. She was immensely proud of the fact that she was a 31-year member of A.A. and clean and sober. She was a sponsor to many women over the years. 

Being a substance abuse counselor became incredibly stressful after a few years which was affecting her health. At that time, she became an owner/ operator of a cleaning businesses. She closed the business in 2010 and retired. She kept active helping women in 12 step programs. She also became an avid amateur genealogist. She loved to cook and bake, and always used natural and organic ingredients. 

She loved her fur babies having up to three shitzu mixed dogs at one time.

 Before COVID became a part of life, it was not uncommon for Tina and Dan to be at a pow wow or native ceremony on any given weekend.

Tina was very involved in environmental issues. No nukes and being a water protector were among the many issues that she championed. 

Elizabeth was of Cherokee native decent and was a pow wow dancer. She met her husband Dan at a pow wow, and they were celebrating together their 25th. wedding anniversary. 

Elizabeth constructed most of her own regalia being a traditional and jingle dress dancer.

Elizabeth was passionate about educating all who would listen on the history of Native Indian boarding schools and orphanages and the long-term effects on native people. Her father was raised in an orphanage and she felt like an orphan most of her life. It was not until Tina was in her 50s that she found her Caldwell Cherokee roots in southeast Kentucky. With the help of newfound cousins Joe and Archie Caldwell she traveled south and, for the first time, met another Caldwell.

Elizabeth was very eclectic in her beliefs and understood the good in all religious and spiritual beliefs. She was a member of the Unitarian Universalist (Peoples Church) in Ludington. She also attended many Native Ceremonies as she was the caretaker of a sacred pipe bundle.

Tina had overcome much adversity in her 74 winters. Being molested, abandoned, and abused, she suffered from P.T.S.D. and substance abuse. Health problems plagued her her whole life. Heart and lung problems, degenerative bone disease, a bout with meningitis, arthritis, cancer and the subsequent chemo and radiation treatments. But she was a warrior and overcame it all. She was always thinking about how to help others. Even when she was diagnosed with COVID, she was praying for others in the community. She said, “I am going to beat this too.” 

Elizabeth is survived by her husband Daniel Bissell; daughters Bettina Richards (George), Mara Hasty (Dan); one son Jaron; stepchildren, Robert Bissell, (Beth), Becky Stover, (Adam), Katrina Reid, and Sarah Underwood (Joe); spirit daughters Kat and Somer; 23 grandchildren, Katie, Sarah and Stephanie, Tim, Makayla, Chance, Dilon and Derick, Maizylin, Gia, Kaia and Maverik, Mattea, Mariah, Madalyn and Joel, Hayden, Wesly and Joseph, Greyson (Hayley) and Emma, Travis, and Tad; seven great-grandchildren; and best friend and sister of the heart Pam.

As per her wishes she has been cremated. Because of COVID there will be no public service at this time. The family is planning a celebration of her life later.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Oak Grove Funeral Home of Ludington, www.oakgroveludington.com.

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